Matisse Osgood is a New York City girl through and through. She buys her clothes at Andy's Cheapies, watches indie films at the Angelika, and wouldn't be caught dead on a hayride. But when her father gets sick and Matisse's parents decide to leave Manhattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles. As Matisse trudges through life in Prague, she dreams of waking up in her apartment on West 78th Street with a father who's well enough to walk with her in Central Park and a mother who doesn't pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround Matisse at school and her father's symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she's making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help Matisse find the strength to reach out to her father, who may not be as far from her as she thought. And one particular farm boy shows Matisse that country living is a lot more magical than she ever imagined.
(Summary from jacket flap)
The one thing that surprised me about this book was how it was marketed for a younger audience than I expected. The print is large, the plot line is basic, and nothing "naughty" happens. But, of course that's not a bad thing. I think it added to the overall warm charm the book had. Each character was whimsical and fun, and even though their actions may have not seemed realistic at some points, they were still fun to read about and you felt as if you knew them well. I also liked how the romantic aspect of the story played out. I loved Hal and I think that him and Matisse make one of the cutest couples I've read about in a while. There's just something so innocent about the high maintenance city girl falling for the hokey farm boy. I adored it! Another thing that really brought the book to life for me was the strong female lead. Even throughout her boy troubles and the issues with her family, Matisse was able to stay sane and competent. I loath books that place females in weak and inferior positions, so for that reason alone, I loved Alive and Well. I'd definitely recommend this book to everyone. It is sure to warm your heart and leave you wanting to read more of Daphne Grab's smooth and clear writing. I'm definitely looking forward to more books from her!